Loss of mobility is one of the greatest fears of ailing seniors–and for good reason. Growing old comes with many challenges but one of the most pressing is physical deterioration that makes it impossible to get around on one’s own.
At first, the mobility decline may require a cane or walker. Eventually, a senior may lose the ability to drive and need a wheelchair. In the most extreme cases, elderly community members are unable even to shift around in place, requiring assistance rolling over in bed and otherwise moving at all.
Those seniors with the worst mobility problems are the most likely to end up needing the around-the-clock support that only a nursing home can provide. For that reason, it is incumbent upon nursing homeowners and operators to guard against the dangers that come with an inability to shift and move independently. Foremost among those dangers are pressure sores.
Foam Mattresses May Help Prevent Bed Sores
There will never be a replacement for close, consistent, conscientious care provided to residents to prevent bedsore development. However, there is one new advance that may ultimately help in the fight against this problem, improving the quality of life for nursing home residents.
As discussed in a Health Day report late last month, a new type of mattress may help minimize the risk of bedsore development for immobile patients. Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that high-density foam mattresses are much safer for patients. Unlike traditional mattresses, with spring coils, the pressure placed on specific parts of the body from foam mattresses is less concentrated, minimizing the skin breakdown on specific parts of resident bodies.
Researchers examined nearly a thousand nursing home residents at risk of pressure sore development. They found that use of the foam mattresses in those residents may lower the total amount of interventions that a resident needs throughout the night to prevent pressure ulcer development. Specifically, the standard procedure of turning residents every two hours may eventually be reduced to every four hours with the help of these advanced sleeping aides.
More widespread use of foam mattresses may allow seniors to sleep longer throughout the night before being woken up for pressure sore prevention turning. And as a practical matter the mattresses may minimize overall pressure sore development. That is because while caregivers should always turn residents every two hours, many facilities fall far short of that requirement. Due to understaffing, inadequate training, and simple negligence, many seniors are left immobile in bed for hours on end. Pressure sores often develop, leading to pain, infection, and other complications.
Failure to Prevent Pressure Ulcers Is a form of Elder Abuse & Neglect
Whether it requires use of new caregiving equipment or not, the bottom line is that failure to prevent pressure sores is a sign of elder neglect. No resident in an Illinois nursing home should be forced to deal with the painful and potentially deadly consequences of pressure ulcers. If you or someone you know has been hurt by bed sores, contact Robert Rooth today at (800) 598-4348.